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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

October 8, 2013
Susan Siverson | Senior Office Supervisor | College of Education and Human Service Professions | 218 726-6537 |
Lori Melton | Communication Associate | External Affairs | 218 726-8830 |

CEHSP Inducts Distinguished Alumni

DULUTH, MN — The College of Education and Human Service Professions (CEHSP) at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) is inducting its first group of CEHSP Distinguished Alumni. The following alumni are being recognized for their achievements:

Dr. Angela Burda, Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders; Mr. Rick Smith, Dept. of Education; Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, Dept. of Psychology and Dept. of Social Work; and Mr. Paul Vesterstein, Dept. of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation.

Each of the alumni honored will present a seminar to faculty and students in their respective departments.

On Fri., Oct. 18, from 1:15–2 pm in Bohannon Hall 351, the Psychology Department will host an open house to celebrate the launching of their new graduate program, Master of Arts in Psychological Science. The first cohort for this program will begin their studies in fall 2014.

About CEHSP’s Distinguished Alumni

Angela N. Burda, Ph.D., is professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Northern Iowa. She earned her B.A. (1993) and M.A. (1996) at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She earned her Ph.D. from Wichita State University. She has served at the University of Northern Iowa since 2000 where she teaches courses in acquired neurogenic disorders, normal aging, and accent modification. Her past research focused on the perception of accented speech. Currently, she is researching cognitive-linguistic changes across the lifespan and in conjunction with colleagues in the department of Computer Science, she is developing an app to target naming difficulties in persons with aphasia. Her book Communication and Swallowing Changes in Healthy Aging Adults was published in 2010. She has several publications and has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally. Burda is the president of the Iowa Speech-Language-Hearing Association and will be honored as a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association this November.

Rick J. Smith received his Bachelor of Social Work degree in 1985 and his Master of Education degree in 1999 from the University of Minnesota Duluth. After working as a corrections agent and coordinator of Volunteer Guardian ad Litem Program for St. Louis County, Smith joined UMD as an American Indian cultural competency trainer in 1987 to provide American Indian cultural competency training for UMD, local, state, regional, and national programs. In addition to this role, since 1988 he has been the director of the UMD American Indian Learning Resource Center. Under his direction for the last 25 years, Smith has recruited and counseled American Indian students on the UMD campus. He has conducted many fundraising activities, and continues to assess the needs of American Indian students where he then recommends/develops programs to meet their needs. He is a consultant and trainer for the Blandin Reservation Community Leadership Program, which provides culturally specific residential retreat programs for community leaders. Smith has accomplished many things in his professional life, but for UMD, his continued strong commitment to American Indian students has never diminished.

Yvonne Prettner Solon received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Development with a double major in Social Development and Psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1979 and a Master of Educational Psychology with a focus on Agency Counseling from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1981. She served as director of the Marty Mann Halfway House for Women from 1981–1984 and was also a psychologist at the Range Mental Health Center in Virginia, Minnesota, prior to moving to St. Luke’s Hospital and Clinics in Duluth in 1985. Prettner Solon served St. Luke’s in a variety of roles from 1985–2010 including psychologist, program coordinator, and clinical director for Outpatient Mental Health. In 1988, Prettner Solon was elected to the Duluth City Council where she served for twelve years. In 2002, she was elected to the State Senate and in 2011 was elected as the Lt. Governor of the State of Minnesota.

Paul Vesterstein is a genuine American success story. A native of Estonia, he arrived in America in 1949 with little more than hope, his innate talents and abilities, and a strong work ethic. He came from a Displaced Person’s Camp in Europe after WWII, under the sponsorship of the Duluth YMCA. Vesterstein worked as a counter clerk at the YMCA, as a swimming instructor, and as a counselor at YMCA Camp Miller. In 1950 he had found the means to attend UMD, graduating in 1953 with a degree in physical education and minors in health and mathematics. His friends at UMD nicknamed him “The Count.” While at UMD, he was a member of the ski team. After graduation, he continued to work for the YMCA in a variety of instructional and leadership roles. Over time, Vesterstein parlayed his success, interest, and international contacts in skiing into a fledgling business of importing skiing equipment from Germany. Having determined that there was a strong market in this region for importing skiing equipment, he and a group of friends founded the Continental Ski Shop. From there his business acumen led him into other retail, travel, and real estate ventures in the U.S. and abroad. Vesterstein has always given back to those who have impacted his life and has been supportive of UMD. He has organized student trips to his native Estonia, served on the Board of Directors of the UMD Alumni Association, and served one term as president of the Association. He has twice received UMD’s Distinguished Alumni Award. He was UMD’s 1993 commencement speaker. He has supported business ventures in Estonia and hosted the president of Estonia on a state visit to Minnesota.

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